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  • U.N. Negotiations on Arms Trade Treaty Near End

    The U.N.’s Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) conference released a second draft text late in the afternoon on Thursday. After initial reactions from states, the questions still at issue came into focus. In order of significance, the top five questions are:

    1. Will the treaty be amendable by consensus or by two-thirds majority? The first draft text, released Tuesday, allowed amendments by a two-thirds majority of signatories. This means that, if the U.S. signed and ratified the treaty, its foreign policy and constitutional liberties would be subject to majority rule. The new draft requires amendment by consensus.

    A consensus mechanism is far from perfect, but it is certainly better than majority rule. Many nations want to return to the two-thirds approach. That would by itself be more than enough to justify the U.S. breaking consensus on the final treaty text.

    2. Should the ATT use the terms export and import (or trade), or should it use transfer? The first draft used the term transfer. This was changed in yesterday’s draft, in part at the urging of the U.S. delegation, because transfers could refer to the domestic sale of firearms. Many nations have urged a return to transfer, implying that, for them, the ATT is in part about domestic gun control. This should draw a U.S. rejection.

    3. Should the ATT refer to the “end user” of an exported weapon (describing an individual), or should it refer to “end use” of such a weapon (describing an activity)? The first draft uses “end user”; the second draft uses “end use.” Again, many nations like the original text, and, again, the change reflects U.S. input. The reason for the change is that the U.S. does not license individual firearms owners at the federal level. It is very dangerous that the working group on this issue is being run by Mexico, which has consistently argued that the ATT should affect transfers inside the U.S.

    The same issue lies behind a closely related and equally contentious issue: Should the ATT refer to “unauthorized end users” or “non-state actors.” A large number of nations want it to do so, in part because they want a treaty that urges the disarmament of the rebel groups in their own countries (and of their own citizens). But again, this language either implies federal firearms registration in the U.S. or could be held to apply to individual firearms owners.

    4. Should the ATT recognize the so-called rights of self-determination, national liberation, or resistance to colonial occupation? All of these terms sound innocent, but all are U.N.-speak for supporting terrorism against the U.S, Israel, and other U.S. allies. The current draft does not include these so-called rights, and if, as a substantial number of nations have requested, they are re-inserted, they too should draw a U.S. rejection.

    A related issue is whether the treaty should include the right of territorial integrity, which is a U.N. code word used by fragile states in Africa and other ill-governed nations with rebellious provinces. Its inclusion would create an obstacle to U.S. support for any geographically based rebellion against tyranny, such as the one which resulted in the creation of South Sudan.

    5. Should the ATT place balanced demands on importers and exporters? What this innocent-sounding language means is that various dictatorships and autocracies want a treaty that would create a right for Iran (for example) to buy arms from the U.S., or an obligation by the U.S. to sell arms to Iran, or an ability to appeal to the World Court of Justice for any refusal to sell arms, or an obligation on major powers (meaning the U.S.) to disarm. There is no end to the amount of mischief that concepts of this sort can imply, and none of it is acceptable. The only reason this issue is not more critical is because there is less momentum behind it: it appears to be too obviously dangerous for even a majority of the U.N. to swallow.

    That’s not all, of course. There is continued pressure from many nations to put ammunition in the scope of the treaty—instead of as part of national export control systems, as in yesterday’s draft—and an interesting squabble about whether regional integration organizations (such as the EU) should be allowed to sign the ATT. And with a text that has only been available for a few hours, study and analysis continues. Right now, the most that can be said is that the latest draft of the ATT is marginally better than the last one, but many nations are still trying to make a fundamentally bad idea worse.

    Will an ATT be agreed the end of today’s session? I have said all along that I believe it will, and nothing I saw yesterday made me change my mind. But there are many ways the treaty could still fall apart, and if the odds are in favor of a treaty, the margin is narrow.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to U.N. Negotiations on Arms Trade Treaty Near End

    1. Richard Thornton says:

      The UN is having too much to say as to how the US acts. Our Constitution is the only thing we should pay attention to regarding these matters.

      • Disavowed 1 says:

        We don't have a Constitution dumby head, if you knew your Constitutional History you would have known that it was dissolved in 1871 and turned into the CORPORATE STATES OF AMERICA.

        We have The Constitution for the united States of America, not of, lower case "u" in united is purpose..

    2. Mike says:

      Most people think that a Treaty is only ratified by a 2/3rd's Vote of the Senate….

      While this is true, that only occurs "IF" it comes up for a VOTE…

      When the U.S. signed the accord at the Veinna Convention, that ALL changed.

      NOW all that has to happen is "INNACTION" or "NO ACTION" by the Senate and the President on a Treaty and the U.S. will be bound to it as ALL Treaties bear the weight of a Constitutional Provision. So the COURTS will have to enforce it.

      This Treaty will NEGATE our 2nd Amendment…….as if we had voted to remove it ourselves….

      Before condemming me…..do some RESEARCH into how Treaty Laws affect us….

      After the 2nd Amendment is gone….the 1st Amendment will be soon to follow.

      We are about to find out WHO the REAL TRAITORS are in this country.

      We MUST vote out ALL Anti-gun Democrats and Republicans this fall…….

    3. librtyship says:

      This whole treaty poses a deadly danger to our Constitution and our freedoms. we have no business signing on to this subterfuge as it is part of the UN drive to one world government. Anything that does harm to our Constitution is inexcusable and intolerable! Do not give up our sovereignty!!!!

    4. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      According to Dick Morris, the ATT will supersede the 2nd Amendment.

    5. Josh says:

      Ted, Thank you for this. This is the most informative article I have read yet. Nicely done!

    6. Say Whut says:

      Has anyone found a copy of the new draft (released Thursday evening 7/26), anywhere online??

    7. Urgeing a disarmament of rebels and civilians? So basicaly start civil war. There is a reason whay they are called rebal groups.They are not going to to say ok, you can have are guns, it's all good.your talking about gangs bangers ,drug dealers, and all sorts of other people who don't exactly care for the law as it is. Not to mention gun activist, liberals, and all others who are law abiding people who are not going to be willing to give up there arms for the fact that it is our right to own and bear arms and the thousands of dollars that people have invested in there wepons. Ya we have some real intelligent people running our country. Our leaders our going to cause a revalution. But then maybe that's what we need.__

      • The bad guy will always be able to get a gun. destroing all arms and stopping the manufacturing of arms won't even stop the violence. People will invent in all manners to cause death and destruction. knives, BOMBS! ect….. NO ONE CAN STOP VIOLENCE IT'S HUMAN NATURE! Disarming the law abiding and leaving them helpless is going to acomplish what? And stopping the exports of small arms is in what way going to effect our economic situation? The corrupt and perverted leaders of these countries and our own are tyrents opressing the people of there rights to prepare and protect. gaining controll only for there own greed and selfish pleasures at the cost of a countries prosperity. History will explain. Corrupt,power hungry leaders disarm and then depleate. Hillary Clinton first tryed to take our emergancy provisions calling it hording,then this arms trade treaty. What's next? Maybe I'll get thrown in jail or executed for writing comments like this!

    8. OldTimer says:

      It will be nice to have China, Russia and North Korea making policy about what weapons I can legally possess.

    9. Bob in Florida says:

      I have a copy of the penultimate draft; but, it is helpful to see the changes made in the final draft and the commentary on the rationale behind the changes. Thank you.

      However, I'm still struck with the feeling that all this is 'just putting lipstick on a pig.' No matter how we try to glamorize it – we are still dealing with an undesirable object. I have yet to see anyone provide a convincing explanation of why we (referring to the U.S.A.) have anything to gain by this exercise. There is no upside, that I can see, for us to support a treaty on this subject – no matter how it is worded.

    10. Bob in Florida says:

      (continuation of prevous comment)

      If I had to hazard a guess, my inclination would be that we busied ourselves 'working with' this group to provide ourselves the opportunity to poison the well and make the wording so unacceptable to other participants, that there was no way there was going to be agreement in the time available. Yet , I have a hard time seeing this administration use that approach – unless they saw it as a worthy goal but putting their party faithful in an untenable positoin at the time of the upcoming election.

      That brings me to my final concern; why is it not possible (or, is it?) for this effort to be resurrected in December, 2012, or in January 2013, if there should be a U.S. Administration that would back it?

    11. I do not approve of this treaty nor of any supporter of it. Where are all the good representatives? I have made Chic Fil A my go-to fast food joint. What other ways can us little people "funnel up" money to decent representatives?

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